New tournament, old rivalry: Novak Djokovic beats Rafael Nadal to send ATP Cup final to decisive doubles showdown (VIDEO)
Serbian tennis icon Novak Djokovic has revived his team’s chances of winning the inaugural ATP Cup after he defeated world number one Rafael Nadal 6-2, 7-6 in the second match of the final against Spain.
Going into the match, the 16-time Grand Slam winner knew he could not afford to lose, as Serbia were trailing 1-0 after Roberto Bautista Agut outplayed Dusan Lajovic 7-5, 6-1 to give Spain an early ATP Cup final lead.
A win for Nadal over Djokovic would have meant an overall victory for Spain. However, the reigning Australian Open champion had no plans to lose, prolonging the gold-medal tie into a decisive doubles match.
Djokovic got off to an excellent start, making the double break to take a more-than-confident 5-2 lead which he never squandered, winning the first set 6-2.
Nadal tried to reverse the course of the game, but his efforts were not enough to beat his well-known Serbian counterpart, who was more focused during the tie-break and took the second set 7-6.
With that triumph, Djokovic has celebrated his ninth consecutive hard-court victory against the Spaniard.
The decisive doubles match between Spain and Serbia will be played later on Sunday.